ComputerBasics

successful-computer-gadget-digital-close.jpg

What is a computer?

A computer is an electronic device that stores and manipulates information called data. Computers take in information, store and process it and then output a result.

There are many types of computers such as desktops, laptops, smartphones, tablets, e-readers, servers and more.  These devices are all computers and while they might look different, they function in a similar way.  They take in data, store it, process it and output a result.

What is binary?

Binary is the language that computers understand.  It is a system made up of only two characters,1 and 0. Computers process electronic signals and translate them into information and instructions.  Electronic signals can be manipulated when moving through  circuits in a computer.   Inside a computer, are microscopic transistors that act like switches.  With the application of a high or low voltage, these switches can be turned on or off.  These micro-transistors are used to process information and instructions.

 

In a computer system we can use one transistor to represent one digit of binary.  If the transistor is on, we use a 1 and if it is off, we use a 0.   A binary digit or bit, is the smallest unit of data a computer can process.  Combinations of these 1s and 0s can be used to represent all kinds of data including text, images, videos, sound, colours and more.
 

What are bits and bytes?

A binary digit or bit (1 or 0), is the smallest unit of data a computer can process. Combinations of these 1s and 0s can be used to represent all kinds of data including text, images, videos, sound, colours and more.

Eight bits in sequence is called a byte.  Bytes are common groupings for binary digits when used in a computer.  With 8 bits or a byte of information, we could represent numbers from 0 through 255.  This is important because there are systems that assign numbers to specific letters and other characters.  

 

For example, when you type an A on your computer keyboard, the computer knows that A = 01000001 which is = to 65 in the ASCII character encoding system.  Hello is 72, 101, 108, 108, 111.  

In binary, it is  01001000  01100101  01101100  01101100  01101111